The Minnesota Lynx aren’t sure when Seimone Augustus will return, but Monica Wright demonstrated she might be capable of filling the void.
Wright looks to follow her best performance of the season by leading the Lynx to a fifth win in six games Sunday when they visit the New York Liberty.
Augustus, a four-time All-Star who ranks sixth in the league with 17.2 points per game, has missed back-to-back games with left knee bursitis. Minnesota (13-5), which owns the league’s second-best record behind Phoenix, isn’t sure if she’ll be able to play Sunday.
With Augustus sidelined Thursday, Wright scored a season-high 17 points in a 91-84 home win over San Antonio, complementing the 22 by Lindsay Whalen and 21 from Maya Moore.
"She’s a good player, and her coming off the bench is a luxury most of us don’t have," Stars coach Dan Hughes said. "You pay a lot of attention to Whalen, you pay a lot of attention to Maya, and (Wright) is a good player. Even if Augustus is gone, they still have good players."
Wright, who missed the team’s first 10 games after offseason knee surgery, had totaled 18 points in seven games. She had one 3-pointer all season before hitting 3 of 4 attempts Thursday.
"I’ve been impressed with how quickly she’s gotten re-acclimated," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I’m just really happy with Monnie’s fortitude to get through all that and be really helpful to our team right away."
Wright didn’t play in Minnesota’s 87-82 home win over New York on May 24, though Moore – who leads the league with 22.7 points per game – scored 30 and was 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Whalen scored 21.
Tina Charles tallied 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Liberty (6-11), who are last in the Eastern Conference but have won three of four on a five-game homestand. Charles scored a season-high 28 and grabbed 14 rebounds in Tuesday’s 90-74 victory over Tulsa, marking her seventh double-double of the year and first in seven contests.
The former league MVP scored 20 in the first half alone.
"Tina Charles set the tone early in the game and did what she was supposed to do, score buckets for us," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "She was very engaged."
Cappie Pondexter recorded 13 of her 21 points in the second half and has totaled 35 in two games after being shut out for the first time in her career in a 73-69 loss to Chicago on June 27.
Minnesota has won six straight in the series by an average of 23.5 points, winning each game by at last 16. New York hasn’t defeated the Lynx since a 78-62 victory in Minneapolis on Sept. 2, 2011.